ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina mom recently used Facebook to warn parents about La Crosse encephalitis, a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
“And so it’s breaking all of our hearts to see the spunkiest one out of five brothers down,” LoriAnne Surrett told WLOS .
The heartfelt words about her son Noah have been shared more than 1,400 times on Facebook.
Her 6-year-old was hospitalized last weekend. Saturday he complained of a headache and eventually had a seizure.
“I’ve got five kids, and this is absolutely the scariest thing I’ve every been through in my life,” she said. “I literally thought my kid was gone when I saw him.”
Before this past weekend, Surrett said she’d never heard of the disease, which is transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito. According to the CDC, there are about 63 cases each year.
La Crosse encephalitis often involves inflammation of the brain, and, along with seizures, it can cause coma and paralysis.
“This is something no parent should have to go through over a mosquito bite,” Surrett said.
She said doctors are hopeful antibiotics and seizure medication will help. Noah’s mostly asleep in his hospital room as he recovers. He will likely spend at least five more days in the hospital.
“He screams out in pain from the headaches, and he’s really just like a zombie,” Surrett said. “It’s scary, it’s really scary. I don’t want no parent to have to go through this.”
Surrett hopes her 768 heartbreaking words on Facebook encourage other parents to watch for symptoms, including fever, headache and nausea.
“I’ve lived here my whole life. They say it’s known and common, but I’ve never heard of it and I want people to know that this can happen.”
Surrett said she and her husband took every precaution they could to prevent mosquito bites. She’s been encouraged by the outpouring of love on social media.